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Cougars were better team - Lightbourne

(Photograph by Akil Simmons)Off the mark: Peskett, centre, is congratulated after scoring on his Hood debut

Robin Hood 2 Devonshire Cougars 1

Robin Hood marked their Dudley Eve Trophy debut with victory over Devonshire Cougars in group B after new signings Shannon Burchall and Nathan Peskett netted either side of half-time at St John’s Field yesterday as a missed penalty proved costly for Cougars.

Both teams took time to settle down in the first half with Hood going close twice around the half-hour mark as Peskett headed over the crossbar from a Lejuan Simmons corner and then Kioshi Trott in the Cougars goal made a good one-handed save to deny Burchall three minutes later.

Cougars had a chance to break the deadlock in the 37th minute when Zachary Morris was fouled inside the box, however captain Moses Steede’s spot-kick grazed the base of the post.

Hood, playing in the competition for the first time after a fourth-place finish last season, took the lead four minutes later when Burchall’s effort from an angle on the left was fumbled by the diving Trott at the near post.

Peskett was a threat in the air to corners and moments later he almost doubled the Hood lead when his header was deflected before it grazed the crossbar.

Cougars, with new coach Kwame Steede, fielded some new faces with defender Jordan Darrell and striker Vincent Minors Jr from relegated sides St George’s and Flanagan’s Onions making their debuts.

Minors set up the equaliser six minutes into the second half when a quick break by Cougars resulted in the striker getting into the box and supplying the cross for Clamari Burns to slot home past Jason Simons in goal.

However, the joy was short-lived as Hood struck the winner in the 57th minute when Peskett was left unmarked at the far post from Lejuan Simmons’s free kick and the lanky midfielder only had to stoop to steer his header past the goalkeeper.

Cougars made three substitutions in quick succession midway through the second half as Darrell limped off with sore calves. Kurtis Minors, one of the substitutes, came closest to netting an equaliser for Cougars when his effort from 20 yards went inches over the crossbar.

“I thought Cougars were the better team,” Kyle Lightbourne, the Hood coach, admitted. “But it shows our strength in character that we can not play too well and still dig out a result. Because our preseason went really well I anticipated we wouldn’t play too good today.

“But saying that this is the first time in this competition for us and I’m a little wary because we don’t have the biggest squad for things like injuries and suspensions.

“Our priority is definitely the league, we finished fourth last season and we want to improve on that.”

Steede, the Cougars coach, hardly sat down during the match as he shouted instructions to his players. “He reminds me of when I first started coaching, I was constant, constant, constant, because you need time to bed in your style of play.”

Robin Hood (4-4-2): J Simons —

D Taylor, C Boyce, C Fosken (sub:

A Martin, 64min), P Froncioni — J Bather, L Simmons, T Dill, N Peskett — A Russell, S Burchall (sub: S Brown, 78). Substitutes not used: J Titterton, T Williams,

L Simons. Booked: Russell.

Devonshire Cougars (4-3-3): K Trott —

D Williams, J Smith, K Franks, J Darrell (sub: C Brangman, 71) — Zeko White,

M Steede, Zekiro White (sub: K Minors, 67) — Z Morris (sub: C Albouy, 67),

V Minors, C Burns. Substitutes not used: R Nesbitt, J Furbert-Wade, J Simmons. Booked: Williams.

Referee: A Francis.